It almost feels like I`m sleepwalking over the platforms of Frankfurt Central Station. It`s 6 in the morning. My flight from Rio to Germany was, *mmm* interesting. Situated in the middle row, surrounded by a massive (around 20 people) Brazilian family. Featuring drunk uncles, laughing aunties and crying babies. It was like you try to fall asleep in the middle of a local Brazilian cafè: FORGET IT!
Keeping myself distracted by watching movies was also out of the question. My stingy self, had booked a flight with the uber-budget flight company. So entertainment was NOT included. Ah well, self-inflicted. Earplugs and a good read, are also a great way to pass the time.
It is still way before check-in time when I arrive at “Frankfurt Hostel”. I put my backpack down and wait patiently at the bar/reception, for somebody to help me out. Unfortunately, the lady behind the counter is more eager to help out the good looking young men in line, than me. I can`t blame her. I`m sure my jet legged-lack-of-sleep face isn`t the most appealing. One guy after the other skips the line, but I couldn`t be bothered to say anything about it.
When guy number 4 jumps in front of me, it starts to itch…. And by the time we reach guy number 5, I explode: “Ja hallo, kannst du mir hilfen oder was?!” I shout. The girl looks at me with one of her eyebrows raised so highly up, it nearly reaches her hair. “Ow, you speak German? What do you want?” Her way of talking instantly reminds me of my Wicked Witch encounter in Uruguay.
“I was wondering if it would be possible for me to check-in? I know it is way before check-in time, but I…” “No you can`t”, she promptly interrupts me. “Check-in is at 2 PM. You`ll need to wait another 7 hours.” And she focuses on her young Brad Pitt again. I`m slowly starting to feel my blood boiling from inside. “Listen, I know I`m not your perfect, good looking, young, male customer. And I`m aware of the fact that it is way before check-in time. But could you please put a little effort into making my life a lot easier and help me store my big backpack in the depot, let me pay for the room and give me the WiFi code.
The girl leans forward, puts both her hands on the bar, sighs deeply and rolls her eyes. She trudges towards the key of the depot and, without saying anything, walks away. I look at her Brad Pitt. He seemed so imitated by my outburst that he timidly takes a step back. The head of the wicked with pops back from around the corner. “Are you coming or what?!” she shouts and after that disappears again.
I put my back down in the depot. Miss witch is hoola hooping the keys around her finger from left to right. “Sorry, but could I use the bathroom for a second? I really need to go.” I ask her friendly. She gives me her (already legendary) eyebrow again “No you can`t. The bathroom is locked, and I can only give you the key after 2 PM.” Without any further explanation, she turns around and walks off. Leaving me totally speechless.
“He psst!” I hear behind me. I turn around. One of the cleaners is waving me over. She`s hiding around the corner and anxiously looking around to check if anybody can see her. “Come, quickly. I`ll open one of the bathrooms for you.” She whispers. “Just don`t tell anybody in here ok?” I smile at her and promise her I will take it to my grave.
The following hours I spent with arranging my trip back to the Netherlands (a carpool ride with BlaBlaCar appeared to be a gift from above), answer some emails, finish up some writing and get myself a heavenly tasty bread roll for breakfast.
The 7 hours had passed before I knew it. At exactly 2 PM I`m back at the reception. Miss wicked witch 2.0 is sitting on a stool in the corner. Swiping away on her phone. She looks at me, looks up to the sealing, mumbles her complaints to gods-knows-who and then slides off her seat. “Yes?”, she asks with her left eyebrow raised up in the air again. I point towards the clock. “It is 2 PM, I would like to check-in please” I say with the biggest smile on my face. “The room isn`t ready yet. There`s a lot of people checking out today, so the cleaners are running behind.” She mumbles, after which she grabs her phone again and continues to swipe left and right. With a touch of surprise, I look around me. There`s nobody else to check-in, only me. “Entschuldigung! I paid for this bed from 2 PM and there`s nobody else to check-in. Wouldn`t it make sense to ask the cleaners to clean my bed first and then continue with the rest of the rooms? Or just give me some clean sheets so I can do it myself. I`m awake for 40 hours now. I really, really want to go to bed!” The Wicked Witch is unimpressed. Without taking her eyes off her phone, she replies: “The cleaners are working with a fixed schedule. It is not up to me to change that. Wait another 30 minutes, and your room will be ready.” I barely could believe what I was hearing. “Ok Sanne. Take it easy. There`s worse things in the world. Breathe in and breathe out.” I tell myself. “Ok then..” I say to the Wicked Witch... “Half an hour, not a minute more.”
In the end, it lasted till 3 PM till I finally received the key of the dorm. With my backpack on I climb up the stairs. I`m dead tired. When I open up the door, my jaw just drops from astonishment. I`m used to dorm rooms not being 100% sterile clean, but what I find here was the complete opposite. It was an absolute mess! On top of it all: my bedsheets were not changed. They still were dropped onto the mattress, like the previous backpacker had just stepped out bed.
That was it. I was done with being messed around. Without even spending three full seconds in the room, I turn around and walk back down. Requested my money back and left to the hostel around the corner.
The boy behind the reception is welcoming me with a friendly smile on his face. “You look like you could use a bed! You look very tired” I smile at him. I immediately recognized his accent. “Are you from Argentina?” I ask him. “Si, how do you know?” he asks surprised. I tell him about my unbelievable time in South America, about how enchanted I was by Argentina, the people and my lovely family over there. Before I know it, we`re already talking for almost an hour.
“Preciosa, no worries. I`m going to give you an upgrade to a smaller room so that you can get a good rest. We also have free pizza`s tonight. I`ll keep one for you. Don`t worry about food. Just go to bed and sleep first.” I give the boy a big hug and thank him a thousand times for his kindness.
In the dorm, I'm warmly welcomed by all my new roommates. “Oh my god, did you just came here from Frankfurt Hostel?”, Asks the boy on the bed next to me. A head pops down from the bed above me. It`s a witty looking blond girl. “We also just came from Frankfurt Hostel. O gosh, that girl behind the reception is a demon. She is soooo mean!” We all burst out laughing by her funny facial expression and start sharing our horror experiences. “Now you really need to go to sleep girl. You look so tired” the boy next to me says. “Yeah no, worries. We`ll be quite. Make yourself comfortable.” Says Chang from bed number 4. I thank them all and we agree on grabbing some drinks at the bar later tonight. I turn around and pull the blankets over my head to block the light.
I smile. It might not have been the best start of my Europe adventures, but it definitely promised to be a good one. I can`t wait to make new friends and see my old buddies again. It is going to be epic.
After a burn-out it was time for a change. I quit my job, sold my stuff and bought a one-way ticket to the Dominican Republic. What was supposed to be a 4 month adventure turned into 2,5 years and counting......
Photo by: Vanessa Marques Barreto